Over dinner recently, my dear friend Katie, a graduate of one of my very first parenting classes, shared her biggest take away from the series: THE MESSAGE OF LOVE. I asked “What effect does this concept have on your parenting today?” She answered,
“For me, the message of love means continually focusing on the big picture with my kids and letting them know that I love them. I apologize for my behavior when I lose it with them. They’re used to that. Even though I make plenty of mistakes and am not a perfect mother, I’m certain they know how much I love them. Every day I’m aware of the value of communicating that love, even in the smallest interactions.”
Today’s message is simple.
How do you show your love within and beyond the many daily acts of caring — the chauffeuring, cooking, laundering…?
Ironically, the hectic pace of Thanksgiving, with all of the preparations, attendant traveling, cooking, and socializing, can distract us from a grounded connection with our kids.
Remember for a moment, someone from your own childhood who you knew cared about you. How did you know? What did they do?
Maybe they spend time with you, listened to you, taught you a skill or game.
Below is a list of ideas, with concrete examples, for communicating the message of love. This list is a beginning. Please share your ideas in the comment section below!
• Play a game together (we’re into Sorry right now – especially the 14 year old!)
• Cook together (favorites: eggs, lemon squares, help with prepping anything)
• Learn to do something together (friendship bracelets)
• Work together on a project (put together an Ikea desk, replay chess champion game moves, garden)
• Wrestle and rough house
• Walk the dog or take a hike
• Deeply listen to your child – no devices, no interruptions.
• Use phrases that convey empathy, such as:
- You seem__________.
- You look___________.
- You sound__________.
- You are____________.
Body language/tone of voice/alignment of internal and external energy
Be aware of how loving you feel on the inside. Notice how this is reflected on the outside by your facial expressions and body language. When these match you’ll come across with
- Soft face & open heart
- Warm, relaxed tone of voice
- Sincerity and empathy
- With an older child closet listening is a great option.
Katie reminded me – THE MESSAGE OF LOVE is powerful!
Take the time to BE with your children and communicate the message of love in your own, imperfect way. (Maybe it’s about not sweating the small stuff).
Take a moment to share in the comment section below how the MESSAGE OF LOVE is communicated in your family!
As a grandmother I am learning to use positive discipline where once it was not often considered.
It is a joy being with children who have the self confidence fostered by this upbringing. When I truly listen to what they are saying without judgement, a closer relationship is felt by both parties.
Grandparenting is a rewarding joy, especially since my children do the hard work.
What can I say? 🙂
What I remember from Lisa’s class is the simple message that all people – including children- seek belonging and significance. Much of the angst that goes on in our house is when one or both of those elements is missing for someone. Lisa helped me to learn that when one of my children is being most difficult, the best thing is often to go against my first instinct and pull them close vs. push them away. And that real work, help, jobs and responsibility are good for all of us to feel important and give us meaning in life. Now that my girls have more homework and stuff to “do,” we are working hard to keep them connected to their responsibilities at home and resist the urge to let them off the hook. Thanks, Lisa!!!!!
A great reminder Victoria – providing opportunities for children to feel significance and belonging is among the most powerful ways to express love! Thank you.
Last night, my older two sons were home for dinner while the younger two were out. As we finished up the meal, I was waiting for one of the boys to get up and leave the table. Frankly, I was eager to crawl under the covers with the book I was reading. But they stayed put and kept talking, the conversation meandering from one topic to another. I knew that if I got up, they would quickly follow. So instead, I settled into my chair and enjoyed it, reminding myself that this was a moment to cherish. After reading this post, I wonder how many such moments I may have unknowingly interrupted in my rush to the next activity. Thanks for this reminder to take my time.
Margie – Your comment reminds me of https://lisafullercoaching.com/sliding-doors/!
You’ve created an environment where your boys are interested in the world and can carry on interesting conversations – bravo for keeping the door open!! I would love to be a fly on the wall 🙂
LYI hope my mom could read it…i missed her a lot, specially those times when she always makes me feel loved.
Anna, thank you for adding your voice to this conversation and please share this with your mom 🙂